In one of the support groups I am in, a question was brought up from a fellow autism mom. I had not really realized it, but I think this is one of the most common questions that people have asked me. Since many of my readers may not feel comfortable asking, but would be curious to know, I thought I would basically post it here. "How did you feel when your son got the diagnosis?"
So, here is the answer I gave. I hope people come away with a sense of where we are as a family with our son and his diagnosis, but if anyone has questions, just ask. It isn't going to offend me. Promise.
I had a lot of grief. He was diagnosed a few weeks after his 2nd birthday. The diagnosis left no doubt.... He was below the 1st percentile in so many categories. It was overwhelming, although I was basically groomed and prepared for the diagnosis for months prior by family and therapists. I felt mad that I didn't come to the same conclusions that even strangers noticed earlier. I felt inadequate as a mother and finally realized how selfish I was as a person.
With that realization came an overwhelming sense of peace. I wasn't greiving for my son like I had thought. I was mourning the loss of my own hopes and dreams I had for my child. I was angry at myself for being basically blinded by love. I was furious that I stopped doing what came naturally as a mom and let societal rules and guidelines determine my child's "worth".
Once I was able to understand the sources of my negativity, I was able to move on and once again see my child as the unique cuddle bug he is. He will carve out his own path in life and I have been blessed as his mother to witness it. I am proud and blessed to be his mother, because through all of this, I have learned more about life and living the past few years than I had the nearly thirty years I had lived prior. I also realized that I was a good mother who saw no "fault" with my child before diagnosis. I loved him so much and saw his strengths and celebrated them with such joy that his "deficits" didn't even matter.
I honestly knew deep down that he was "special" from the moment I set eyes on him. He held my heart. I stayed in this foggy haze of depression and guilt for a good year.
I know that our lives will be more difficult and challenging. We will have to work harder, be stronger and have more endurance to carve out this new path. Life isn't fair or easy. It is through life's challenges that success and failures lie. After all, it is better to fail at something than to not have tried at all.